Yesterday I was chatting by text with my sister about astrology, and I mentioned that I felt I had, for the first time, really accepted the water and the Capricorn in myself. I had only recently felt like I was getting a handle on Neptune in Pisces, its anti-glamour, archaic, timeless, liquid connectivity (a bit like a network of Cronenbergesque imaginative flesh spectres, an ancient world of them, doing the transdimensional work our conscious minds try to substitute for). I can’t say too much about it, but now here I am, profoundly comfortable with the eerie and shadowed and uncanny.
This morning I had a dream in which I had lost my fingers, or at least quite a number of them, though the stumps were already perfectly healed. I wasn’t overly concerned in the dream, though I was a little anxious to not lose any more of them. On waking I immediately thought of the myth of Sedna*, the Inuit marine goddess who had her fingers severed, and went to the bottom of the sea, where her fingers became all the watery creatures the Inuit depended upon. I had little doubt that was the meaning for me. And here was the water again.
Earlier in the year me and my sister had been talking about water consciousness, in the sense that Richard Gardner spoke of it. One of the great dynamic forces driving the evolution of consciousness; magical, miraculous, otherworldly, connecting and enchanting. Richard thought it was only this consciousness that would save us from the scourges of our outwardly focussed world, and prevent what he predicted as a fiery version of the mythical flood. This was long before anyone had heard of global warming.
Sedna as an astrological object is very slow moving. Pluto moves like a ping pong ball by comparison. Its orbital period is about 11,400 years¹, which is beyond the life span of civilizations, whereas the time it takes Uranus to circle the sky is about one human lifetime, by comparison. It’s difficult to cast such a transpersonal object in standard psychological terms, but that doesn’t of course mean that it doesn’t have a powerful meaning that we can run up against, just as we do with fixed stars. But unlike the fixed stars, Sedna does orbit the Sun. So however distant and alien, it is a sister to the Earth.
I think Sedna relates to water consciousness, a dynamic and archaic consciousness that predates our species. Sedna’s story does in fact include all kinds of water element failings, at least in the form most usually referenced by astrologers. Narcissism, infantilism, gullibility, irrationality, self-victimization. Anyone with strong water will recognise some of these pitfalls. But she ends up at the bottom of the ocean, the most monstrous part of the unconscious (if you like), giving rise to all the life of the sea from her severed fingers. I maintain that Sedna is not a personal force, but then I have always maintained that neither is the imagination. It may be that feeling and imagination are far more than individually psychological. In fact this makes a great deal of sense to me, though it goes against our rationalistic, materialistic assessments of reality.
Sedna may relate to the depth of water, the element and its ancient history. She can only be understood by a dive into our own water world (not a pretty journey, for that part of us seeks the Sun usually), and the acceptance of its dank, cold, inhuman uncanniness. And also, its miraculous world of monsters and tragedy and preternaturally animated creatures.
When the shaman is combing Sedna’s hair he is maybe not just tending her, but creating an entire world in which she can live, while we live free of her more terrible pains and deprivations. While we come to accept both this world, and the ghastly power that we all float in like jelly, amniotic fluid, formaldehyde, filmy nebulae. He is like the storytellers who gave form and dignity to all our monsters. Making Frankenstein beautiful, at the bottom of the sea.
A world we share with everything that lives, whether imaginary or otherwise. Where deep greens and blues are barely stirred by sunlight’s descendants, and fields of leather and mucous sway, chill and peaceful as watery space.
¹ this is the time it takes to make one orbit of the Sun. I don’t know exactly how long it takes to go round the whole zodiac as seen from Earth, but it would be a bit longer.
* there are a number of different forms of the myth, though astrologers only seem to know one. The link provided gives a wider range, while this link from Historica Canada gives a variant with more background.